Mlle Souvestre to Mrs Strachey

Scope and Content

She receives nothing but conflicting news of her friend's return. She envies the Lyttons [Lord Lytton was Viceroy of India 1876-1880] enjoying her friend's sparkling wit for one year. She says that thanks largely to her friend's help 'Les Ruches' is very full and very active; she is specially grateful to her friend for arranging to send her niece, Winifred Strachey (daughter of Sir John Strachey, and born 1864) and this also gave them the pleasure of meeting her father. Rose, another pupil, and one who is a great asset to the school, has taken Winifred under her wing. She also writes to Mrs Strachey and keeps her au courant with all that goes on at the school. Winifred, Margaret (Strachey) Frances and Rosa will have a fete prepared for Mrs Strachey, Eleanor and Dorothy when they come. Asks if her friend has received the Alphonse Daudet volume (mentioned in letter of 26 Aug 1876) and recounts the incident which occurred when she visited George Eliot and her husband Mr Lewis last Spring, and Mr Lewis especially praised the literary merit of those tales. She admires his character greatly. And that sadly to relate was the last she saw of him as he died shortly after. Gives a disquisition on the political happenings of the past week [at the beginning of Jan 1879, Gambetta became the uncontested head of the Republican majority and MacMahon resigned]. Begs her to consider about her son; the particular difficulties not yet worked out for the education of a boy is a challenge to us, but we have a plan already to surmount practical difficulties. Asks if it is true that they are intending to sell 'Stowey'; she has a nostalgic feeling for a house in which she has had her best moments. She is delighted to hear that Eleanor has become a 'femme du monde' and that little Dodo 'conservee au milieu de tant d'inquietude'